17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2001
At best, this album is akin to the greatest of the Wings output. If I were to describe it accurately though, I would say it was a mix between 'McCartney II' in weirdness, 'Back To The Egg' in Wings-ness and 'Flaming Pie' in sheer creativeness. Upon first hearing, the similarness of the songs makes them seem to merge together and nothing particularly strikes you - but listen again, and it's actually marvellous!
It will grow on me. That is the reason I gave it four stars and not three. The songs that immediately stand out are: "From A Lover To A Friend" (the excellent first single), "Magic" (with a great drum break at the end), "Your Way" (which wouldn't have looked out of place on 'The White Album'), "About You" (a great rocker - too short, though), "Heather" (a mostly instrumental track and arguably one of the best tracks on the record), and "Your Loving Flame" (one of the best Macca ballads: and he's done a few!)
Despite recent reports, Paul's voice may not be in the best shape it's ever been, but it's still in great form. This is especially shown on the impressive vocal of the bonus track "Freedom" (a song for the NYC Firefighters.) The musicianship is great. The drummer (Abe Laboriel Jnr.) is excellent, as is the bassplayer (I can't quite remember his name!)
Of course, there are more than a fair share of Beatles/Wings moments. "I Do" and "Your Way" could have been extracted from any later Beatles record, and "Riding Into Jaipur" could have been written by George H. and the walking basslines couldn't be anyone else. The whole sound of the album has a spontaneous quality which are apparent on most Beatles albums/songs.
You can imagine most of these tracks appearing on Wings albums, especially "Lonely Road", "She's Given Up Talking" and "Back In The Sunshine Again" (one of two written with his son, James). This is not signifying that Sir Paul has taken a backwards step: he is merely showing the world that he can still do it!!
All in all, 'Driving Rain' is extremely enjoyable. It's great to hear the master back doing what he does best - a guy loving life and sharing it with you; singing about loves and losses and just so happening to make a damn good CD documenting it all! In a nutshell, extremely creative and inspiring.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
'Driving Rain' is an interesting if slightly uneven album, with the material ranging from beautifully crafted ballads to extended rock noodling, with a couple of diversions to George Harrison flavoured Indian music and laid-back grooving along the way. At it's best this album offers up a trilogy of gorgeous tracks ('I Do', 'From A Lover To A Friend', 'Heather') that are alone worth the price, and virtually every song contains at least moments of genius, though personally I find the pair of songs co-written with Paul's son ('Spinning on an Axis', 'Back in the Sunshine Again') rather out of place with their laid back grooves going nowhere fast. The production throughout is spartan, letting the musicianship shine without burying tracks in a mass of overdubs. A little too uneven to rank as a classic from beginning to end, but the highlights definately outweigh the odd meandering moment. Good stuff.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2009
For the most part this was a reasonable effort from Macca. What the "driving" force was behind this album is not so evident unless it was to say goodbye to one past love in his life (Linda) and welcome the "new" love we have all come to know was Heather. If compared to Flaming Pie then this album does not hit the same delights as Little Willow, Young Boy, Calico Skies, The World Tonight. However, Driving Rain does have its moments with From a Lover to a Friend, Spinning on an Axis, Back in the Sunshine Again and Riding into Jaipur. So you pays your money and takes your chances. Either way enjoy but do buy Flaming Pie first if you haven't already done so! Funsize.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2003
I must admit when I bought this album (the day it came out) I was expecting it to be a dark, harrowing album filled with McCartney writing about the loss of Linda. Initially, I was disappointed with many of the songs on the album as they seemed like typical McCartney fluff. I have to say though in retrospect this album is one of his most different sounding albums McCartney has recorded and it is far better than some of the albums that typically earn good reviews. Think of Tug of War. A good record but certainly not light on fluff, some of the tracks (dress me up as a robber, whats that you're doing)make me cringe. Or Flowers in the Dirt. That album has some of my favorite McCartney tunes (Put it there, My brave face, This One)but I think he sounds older and more "pedestrian" than he does on driving rain. What I like about driving rain is how much it grows on me. I've come to think of the best songs as lonely road (killer bass line, thoughtful lyrics), from a lover to a friend (a piano ballad with a point), heather (love the sunny vocals), your loving flame (although it does seem a little forced), and especially rinse the raindrops. I cant believe more folks havent noticed McCartneys excellent screaming on this song. Also I disagree with the negative feedback that 'Riding into Jaipur' has recieved. Here's McCartney getting pretty trippy musically and people say he s copying George Harrison? I just don't get it. I also have really grown to love "Shes given up talking" because of the spooky acoustic guitar, fuzz bass, and interesting vocals. By the way, the lyrics to the title track are slight but his bass line is great on it. I also really like the chord changes in the middle part. The only song I really don't think much of is Tiny Bubble because while some of the guitar parts are good and the organ sounds great this song just never gets off the ground. Also, About You is one of McCartneys best rockers in a long time. In closing, I think the main reason I like this album is because it is so different. It really doesn't sound like the McCartney you'd expect. I'm still playing it almost 2 years after its release.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2001
After listening to the album four times, my initial impression is that it sounds like a distant cousin to the RAM album. There is that kind of casual, let's-do-it-and-not-think-too-much-about-it quality about it, which in general recalls Paul's early 70's albums. True to this spirit, some of the songs are slight (Heather, Your Way, Driving Rain) but still very catchy. Songwriting has always come easy to Paul, you see, and occasionally he just doesn't feel the need to come up with a middle eight or a "bridge" to properly finish off a song.
The production is, in my opinion, a vast improvement over the last album. The vibe is warm and organic, the natural sounding drums are much more suitable to Paul's music than Jeff Lynne's monster snare hits on Flaming Pie. If you own any other McCartney albums then you know what to expect lyrics-wise. The guy never did compete with Shakespeare, you know, and with an exception of couple of poignant moments, the words are merely pleasant and passable.
But it doesn't matter, because that familiar Paul McCartney vibe, that melodic spark which we all love so much, is still there. And curiously, there are several deeply melancholic moments here that carry genuine emotion: From A Lover To A Friend, She's Give Up Talking and Lonely Road in particular both have a strange, haunting quality to them. The final two songs on the record could have been dumped, particularly the half-baked Rinse The Raindrops, which lasts ten minutes and doesn't really add anything to the proceedings. My version of the album (U.S.) comes with a bonus track -- a live recording of "Freedom" from the New York City benefit. It's quite rousing, and Paul's vocal sounds much stronger than I remember it from watching the show on TV.
In the end, if you don't like McCartney, this album won't convert you. But for the diehards, this is an embarrassement of riches. Is this on par with his classic stuff? Have no idea. Only time will tell I suppose. But, hey, it's just great to hear from the man every once in a while. Favorite songs: Lonely Road, From A Lover To A Friend, She's Giving Up Talking, Driving Rain, Your Way, Magic, I Do.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2001
I reckon McCartney has gone back to his Beatles roots and spent a bit of time listeneing to their old mentor, Bob Dylan. This album sounds like Paul has been digesting Dylan's last but one album, 'Time out of Mind'. The songs feature the same relaxed confidence and slightly mushy, slightly unpolished, 'around the beat' groove. This type of thing can only be done by the Dylans and McCartneys of this world. To pull if off requires supreme mastery in song-smithing.
I think its a very refreshing album - an added bonus is a bit of Lennonesque rhythm guitar work on a few of the songs which will have Beatles fans reminiscing and digging out their old albums. Nice sound all round.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2002
Not Macca's most commercial album but after a few listens the sheer beauty iof the melodies emerges. On first hearing it comes over as rough and under produced but given time the beauty of songs like "Tiny Bubble". "Magic", "Heather" and "Loving Flame" escapes.It's amazing that "From A Lover To A Friend" didn't do well as a single as it's one of his best ballads for a long time. The title track is a great rocker spoilt only by pretty awful nurserty rhyme type lyrics. Whilst there are a couple of filler tracks, overall this shows that Macca hasn't lost his touch and the album is up there with "Flowers In The Dirt" and "Flaming Pie" for quality.
on 12 January 2014
I've bought the Beatles set three times....so I know what I'm talking about....I'm a fan.
Ok so this is just Paul......and I've loved most of his previous albums....ok there have some fillers on them but every artist can't put out a full album of classics every time....I understand that.
....but this album was disappointing to me....started off ok but fizzled out to a series of fillers...better than most artists I would say....but for this man not up to standard....
....he's done better and I think he knows it....
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2002
The new album is another example of how Paul McCartneys most recent releases have been among his best for a long time. It does sound as though it could have been recorded during the Wings period, especially songs like "your way" very simular to "Country Dreamer from 73" and "About you" very "Back to the egg" itself a very underrated album. The majority of the new songs sound very 70s in the interpretation. I love the semi-instrumental "Heather" and the love ballad "I do" and the song "Magic" really is magic. Excellent CD, maybe not quite as good as "Flaming pie!" but then again "Flaming pie" was one of his best solo albums along with "Pipes of peace, Tug of War and Broad Street!". Can't wait for the next McCartney album, I've been buying each one as they are released since the early 80s.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2001
A welcome return to the studio and an album of original material since the death of Linda. Featured strongly is a mix of feelings of loss and new found love as should be expected from a performer well known for penning emotional songs from the heart.
Upon the first listening i thought it was not of a very high standard that is expected of McCartney, i was already disappointed by the single(From a lover to a friend), but after a few listenings it began to grow on me and i think i prefer it to Flaming Pie now!
This album is a positive, harder edged McCartney still showing he still doe'nt mind taking a few risks along the way.
There are obvious commercial catchy songs (Driving Rain and Tiny Bubble) and the strong balled Your Loving Flame.
Tiny Bubble surprised me..not sounding particularly typical Macca but it works and it IS a great song.
Much in evidence is McCartney the bass player. More interesting and melodic of late perhaps due to looking back to early rock n roll on the Run Devil Run album.
For me the album only picks up momentum with the title track Driving Rain. Riding to junipur is in Indian style similar to George Harrisons. You either love it or hate it!!
Rinse the Raindrops is an incredible 10 minute long jam similar to songs he did with Steve Miller on Flaming Pie and although could have been edited it is still a welcome track.
In conclusion Driving Rain is as good as anything McCartney has done..if not better. Typical McCartney melodic, lyrical songsmith with the odd surprise and a man who has gone through every emotion through the past few years to return with a positive, strong album which sounds like he is really enjoying himself, after all he does not HAVE to record anything again..but he is a workaholic and you just cant stop the guy producing brilliant songs.